Did the cold temperatures slow down times on Saturday compared to the past three years at Hereford? (Photo by John Roemer)
This year marked the fourth edition of the Maryland state cross country championships on the altered course at Hereford High School. Times on the new course have proven to be slightly faster than the old course, so while we can't compare times on the new course to times on the past course, we do have four years of data from the state meet.
Setting an arbitrary benchmark of the top 50 performers at the state meet, the following graphs show the comparison between the times from each of the past four seasons.
This year's results (highlighted in yellow) show that this year was possibly the deepest group of runners yet. The conditions were the coldest in recent memory, with temperatures barely climbing over freezing. Outside of the top ten, times seem to have gotten a little faster over the past two seasons. 2015 was the slowest season in terms of both the frontrunners (Dulaney's Eric Walz ran the fastest time of 16:04) and the depth. 2014 was all over the place, producing some of the fastest times (including Nick Fransham's course record) but the depth also tailed off towards 2015.
Girls times, at first glance, look to be more bunched up than the guys times, but the range on the y-axis is also much wider. The frontrunners from the 2016 state meet stand out, helping to reinforce the idea that last year's group of seniors was one of the best the state has ever seen (it doesn't even factor in a fast performance from future Foot Locker qualifier Julien Webster). 2014 (highlighted in blue) seems to be the fastest overall by a bit, especially between places 10 and 30, while this year's race was slowest by a bit between 5 and 20.
Neither of the course records went down this year! Maria Coffin's record has the feeling of one that may stand for a little while, and the 2016 race between her and Abigail Green might go down as one of the top races in Maryland state meet history. Nobody has touched Nick Fransham's record of 15:42, as only four guys went under 16 minutes this year. The fields have been closer to the boys record than the girls record in the past couple years so there's probably a better chance that the boys record falls first.